Jeremiah's School of Levitation


Monday, June 19, 2006

Garden of Delights

There's this lady down the block with an over-active dalmation. She comes by my house every day, getting dragged by her dog, and she looks at our garden, stares at our garden, as if she's looking for something that she lost, or looking for something shiny that she can grab. She never looks at our windows because, if she did, she would likely see a few pair of eyes looking right back at her, wondering what her pair of eyes are looking at.

I know that her father, who now lives with her, is very old, in his 90's, and that he is a gardener, and being a gardener is probably one of the things that keeps him alive. That, and the fact that he walks every day too, and he also walks past my house. He walks slowly, wearing a white baseball cap, and though he's apparently a gardener, he doesn't look at my garden. Sometimes, when I'm out there working, he stops his walk and speaks to me, asking what I have planned for my garden. I tell him, and he nods, and he may offer advice, but usually he just makes sure he tells me about his garden, about how he cleared the raspberry bushes that were rioting in a shady corner of his yard, and how he cleared some overhanging holly branches in order to reveal that corner to the sun and how, now, he's planted corn and expects a hearty crop. Or, he'll tell me that he decided to showcase some dahlias or how he strung up two poles with criss-crossing strings so that his beans would have something to climb on. He's rightfully proud of himself, and I can see that he wants me to smile, and wants me to realize that a man of 90-odd years can still declare war on raspberry bushes, and win. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, young man, his eyes say to me.

I notice, though, that he never walks with his daughter. I wonder if it's because she walks too fast because that dang dog is too aggressive a walker, too much in control of what should be a pleasurable thing, not strenuous exercise, or maybe he has thoughts and words that he wants to be alone with, not always needing to spy on the movements of the neighbors, the height of their flowers, the color of their gardens. He already has a garden, one that his soul has worked on. He doesn't need mine, like, apparently, his daughter does. Or, maybe he doesn't want to see her staring into a garden when she has a perfectly good one right at home, one that he'd crafted. Maybe that's how he's been about everything. Maybe he's been secretly grieving his daughter staring into the world, wanting something beyond what he offered in his own home. Of course, she would want the world, of course she would want to revel in someone else's color, but, it must have hurt him a bit to see her venture out, take her own walks, see the gardens of the world.

Or, it could be much simpler. Like any true gardener, you just need to be alone outdoors among the speechless flora sometimes. Taking a solitary stroll through the greatest garden of all--Earth's garden. No wonder he doesn't look at mine. Mine is just a part of the real garden, a piece in the glorious green puzzle, just a breeze in an ocean of air. Who stops to look where the breezes come from? You merely revel in them. And, lucky guy, he must feel them all.
Jeremiah, 6:50 AM

2 Back at me:

Peter's dad played tennis until his late 80's, but a small stroke took that and his ability to get behind the wheel away. it was downhill after that.

but he was still taking a walk in his early 90's, living with us here in the cold tundra of Yorkshire.

but I bet with that chap, he's not walking with his daughter because she probably does walk too fast.

and I'm sure he's quite pleased to tell you, young whippersnapper, all about his flora... :)))
Blogger ipodmomma, at 10:54 AM  
Maybe he doesn't have to look at your garden...maybe he can 'feel' it as he walks by and knows what you're doing, you young whippersnapper, you.
Blogger Mona Buonanotte, at 11:17 AM  

Say sump-tun